The data that follows was collected and analyzed by Victor Amin of SendGrid’s Big Data team and summarized by Jacob Hansen from the Delivery team.

When marketers are deciding what criteria they should use to measure the health or potential deliverability success of their email address list, we know that it is hard to narrow down that decision to just one or two indicators. Even a handful of known indicators would be nice. But, we see that there are numerous factors to consider at all times.

One main factor we have seen recently as a great indicator of list health is the presence of “role addresses.” They may indicate poor list acquisition practices or poor list management practices. Either way, one of our SendGrid data scientists, Victor Amin, was able to prove that they do have a negative impact on email delivery. His findings are shared below.

What Role Addresses Are

Role addresses are email addresses that typically define a responsibility rather than a person. Therefore, they are unlikely to give their consent to receive marketing emails. Role addresses can fall into a few subcategories:

  • “Broadcast” addresses: Emails to these addresses go to many people at once.(examples: support@ or all@)
  • “Position” addresses: These addresses might go to an individual, but the individual is not the owner of the address and the human recipient can likely change. (examples: admin@ or ceo@)
  • “Service” addresses:  Service addresses are used as an interface to a program or service. Unwanted emails to them can actually incur a significant cost to the operator. For instance, this could be a service address that faxes anything emailed to it long distance. (examples: ftp@ and uucp@)
  • “Test” addresses: These addresses are generally not published and are reserved for internal testing. (examples: test@ or asdf@)
  • “Compliance” addresses: Compliance addresses are designed to identify bad senders. (examples: spam@ or abuse@)

Impact On Delivery and Reputation

Having role addresses on newsletter lists is considered a bad practice in general. But, there hasn’t been much data available to back up that claim. We recently developed an empirical method to find role addresses and review their effect on deliverability. We quantified the effects of role addresses on bounces, unsubscribes, spam reports, delivery, and engagement. What we found bolsters the claim that role addresses on a list have a negative effect: even a single role address on a newsletter list is associated with more bounces, more unsubscribes, and decreased delivery and engagement rates.

The plot below shows the median delivery rate (blue line), along with the 75th and 25th percentile delivery rates (light blue area) with respect to the number of role addresses. As suspected, a higher count of role addresses is correlated with lower delivery rates. And, while it may seem that the drop from 100% to 98% isn’t that drastic, remember that this is data pulled from 580,087 newsletters sent through SendGrid and 514,920,776 individual emails.


This additional graph below shows the results from when we reviewed the presence of role addresses within all email messages compared to their larger presence in “Bounce” and “Unsubscribe” groups.  We found that role addresses account for about 0.49% of all newsletter send requests. However, they account for 1.3% of unsubscribes and 1.6% of bounces (2.7x and 3.3x greater than the baseline send rate).



Creating Your Role Address List to Check Against

It’s often unclear what counts as a role address—different sources have different lists. And, no two role address lists are the same. Within SendGrid’s research method, we found 91 previously unreported role addresses. These were mostly foreign language role addresses. When combined with SendGrid’s current list, that gives us a comprehensive list of 251 role addresses. We recommend validating your own list against our new comprehensive list of role addresses listed below.

Remember that the presence of these role addresses are most likely an indicator of a larger list acquisition or list hygiene issue that is worth exploring deeper. But, it is definitely a good starting point.

SendGrid’s Full Role Address List:

123 contacto geral merchant ripe-abuse
aaa contactus gerencia myplex root
abc contato gm namecheap rrhh
abuse crew head news rsvp
accounting cs no sac
accounts customercare headoffice no-reply sale
adm customerservice headteacher noc sales
admin customersupport hello noemail school
administracion custserv help noreply schooloffice
administration data helpdesk null secretaria
administrativo database hi office secretary
administrator design hola officeadmin security
admisiones dev home online server
admissions devnull homes operations service
advisor devops hostmaster ops services
all digsitesvalue hr order shop
amministrazione direccion hr.dept orders shopping
arin direction human_resources pastor smile
arin-abuse directo ifttt paypal social
asd director info per socialmedia
asdasd directors information phish soporte
asdf diretoria informativo phishing spam
ask dns innkeeper plex staff
atendimento domain inoc stay
available download investorrelations post studio
billing editor ispfeedback postbox subscribe
booking editorial ispsupport postmaster superintendent
bookings editors it pr suporte
broker email itsupport president support
bursar engenharia job prime survey
busdev enq jobs principa sysadmin
business enquire junk privacy systems
butik enquiries kontakt purchase team
care envio lifesum purchasing tech
careers events list recepcion techops
central everyone list-request reception test
ceo exec listmanager recruit theoffice
chartering executive listproc recruiting travel
church executives listserv reg undisclosed-recipients
co-op expert mail registrar unsubscribe
comercial experts mailbox reklama usenet
commerciale export maildaemon remove users
community facebook majordomo request uucp
compete fbl management reserva vendas
compliance feedback manager reservas ventas
compras finance marketing reservation web
consultant financeiro master reservations webmaster
contabilidad frontdesk md response welcome
contact ftp media resumes www
contact-us general memberservices rh zakaz

For more from Victor and the Big Data team, check out their recent study on email engagement and subject lines and for more delivery tips from Jacob, read his latest blog posts.

Jacob comes from a background in technical account management and delivery analysis for the last six years, and has been with SendGrid's Deliverability Consultant team for the last two years. He enjoys spreading knowledge to help the email community send more "wanted email" and to help senders realize their full potential. Originally from Nebraska, but living in Colorado long enough for it to feel like home, Jacob enjoys a lot of what the Denver restaurant, bar, brewery and music scenes have to offer.